College of the Mainland is designing a comprehensive academic plan that might offer students new programs such as engineering and information technology.
College President Warren Nichols spoke Thursday night about the potential new programs up for review and discussion, which also included hospitality and tourism, aerospace and maritime courses.
The meeting was the first in a series of planned open forums about the college’s plans.
This academic proposition follows a $16.19 million maintenance tax bond trustees approved in October 2017. The college will pay for the renovations that involve three of the main college buildings. The school also will remodel the Student Services Center and chemistry lab, university officials said.
Along with revamping its campus, the college is developing a plan to create new career programs for future students, Nichols said in a separate interview.
“As our community continues to grow, our cities and county will need to assist existing business and industry to expand their workforce, and to recruit new business and industry into our area,” he said. “These industries will need employees who have the skills and knowledge to perform the required work.”
Updating the college’s curriculum and getting approval will be a lengthy process even after local leaders have agreed on a list of new programs, Nichols said.
“It could take anywhere from six months to a year,” he said. “If it’s a new program, once you identify the need you have to get it approved by the state.”
The scheduled campus renovations and the academic plan are a combined effort to create a better college and help students over the next decade, said Steve Lestarjette, a spokesman for the school.
“It’s all part of a vision that our president has to improve the learning environment and the opportunities at the college,” he said. “We will get input from many employers.”
The community needs to rally behind the college and support their ideas for more programs and an updated campus as population increases, Texas City resident Jack Cross said.
“There’s a lot of solid people in Texas City that support this college,” he said. “This population looks to be exploding. Will the college be able to handle an excess of students?”
A growing population is why there is a need to improve the campus through diverse classes and a more modern campus setting, Nichols said.
“COM’s mission is to respond to the needs of the community to develop and train this new workforce,” he said.
A more complete academic plan will be presented to the Dickinson Rotary Club on March 21, in the Dickinson ISD administration building, 2218 FM 517 E., in Dickinson.